Collage of orangutan nests in SE Asian rain forests taken by cameras on board Conservation Drones.
Collage of orangutan nests in SE Asian rain forests taken by cameras on board Conservation Drones. (source: By Lian Pin Koh on Flickr)

What happens when a hobbyist technology goes commercial? In this episode of the Hardware Podcast, Chris Anderson, founder and CEO of 3D Robotics, talks about his company’s journey from “a DIY company to a consumer electronics company to an enterprise software company.”

Discussion points:

  • We’re still calling them drones.
  • The drone as a data platform for everything from agriculture to infrastructure.
  • Sense-and-avoid, the ability to detect obstacles and navigate around them, is the most pressing technological issue facing drones today.
  • The open source roots of modern drones, the sensitive matter of taking some aspects closed-source, and Anderson’s leadership in Dronecode
  • When it becomes efficient to manufacture in China (Anderson says it’s at 10,000 units)

This week’s click spirals:

  • Chris Anderson: The reason many products end up in 99-cent stores? Forecasting errors and overproduction.
  • Jon Bruner: A breathtakingly thorough summary of “sovereign citizen” tax-avoidance schemes by Alberta Associate Chief Justice John D. Rooke. This was the first I’d heard of “vexatious litigants.”
  • David Cranor: The experience of drinking Soylent for the first time.